New rolling stock tool

A new project, led by Monash University’s Prof Rhys Jones and managed by Pacific National Rolling Stock Engineer Zarko Milicevic, will allow operators to take a validated risk management approach to their rail wagon fleets and maintenance programs.

According to Milicevic, the tool allows operators to make sound decisions based on wagon fatigue such as determining the current condition and remaining life of aged rolling stock.

“We currently don’t have an accurate method of determining the life of rail components or wagons,” Milicevic says. “This is a predictive tool and offers us a validated way of assessing the life and condition of the wagon as a whole, and can identify the growth of small cracks.

“The condition of aged wagons is a huge issue — and will get bigger and bigger as our general freight traffic increases.

“Monash have currently developed this tool to analyse an FEA (Finite Element Analysis) model that can accurately assess crack growth rate of sample wagon underframe materials. It’s not in a user-friendly format yet, but when commercialised, it will allow operators to manage their assets far more effectively.

“This tool has the potential to save many, many millions of dollars in reduced inspection maintenance costs, reduced fatigue testing, improved safety testing, and effective repair-quality assessment. It will also put us in a smarter buying environment when we’re purchasing rolling stock vehicles.”

Further information regarding this and other Rail CRC project outcomes will be presented at Rail CRC’s Technology Showcase 2007 this week – June 7-8 – at the Brisbane Novotel Hotel.

The Aged Rolling Stock Management and Assessment Project is one of approximately 40 Rail CRC research projects, which were established and supported under the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Programme.

This current Rail CRC is in its final year of operation and consists of rail industry partners — Pacific National, Queensland Rail, TMG Rail Technology, ARTC, and Rail Corp – and six university partners — Monash University, Central Queensland University, The University of Queensland, University of South Australia, Queensland University of Technology and the University of Wollongong. A newly funded Rail CRC and new research program will commence operation on July 1, this year.

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